October 22nd, 2013 at 11:53am
Ford is significantly changing the way it conducts cost accounting for developing new vehicles. Car sales in emerging markets could lead to the industry producing 100 million new vehicles annually by the end of the decade. Aston Martin’s CEO says you won’t see a hybrid in any of its vehicles anytime soon. All that and more, plus a look at Ram Trucks new 6.4L HEMI engine.
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. I’m Sean McElroy filling in for John while he’s still recovering from jet lag from his trip to China last week. But now on to today’s top stories.
FORD CHANGES ACCOUNTING METHODS
Ford is changing the way it conducts cost accounting for developing new vehicles, all with the idea of encouraging product managers to introduce more new technology on its cars and trucks. Typically, American automakers charge the entire development cost for a new technology to whichever vehicle line uses it first. This discourages product managers from taking on that financial burden for their program. But now Ford is changing that practice. Speaking to a group of reporters yesterday at Ford’s World Headquarters, Hau Thai Tang, the vice president of purchasing, noted that Ford will now spread the cost of developing any new technology across the entire line of vehicles that will use it. He cites blind spot detection and self-parking technology as an example of how this has already been implemented. Here’s our Autoline insight. This is a significant change, and is a practice that is similar to how Japanese automakers do their cost accounting.
GLOBAL SALES—BEYOND THE BRICS
For the last decade the BRIC countries have led the growth in global automotive sales. BRIC, of course, stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China. But now a report from the Boston Consulting group says we’re going “beyond the BRICs.” It says Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand will have sales of 4.6 million by 2020. That’s bigger than the Russian market. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey will have sales of 5.8 million vehicles, bigger than Brazil. Argentina, Colombia and Chile will hit sales of 2.9 million, which is getting close in size to the German market. Algeria, Egypt and Morocco will see sales top one million—still small, but representing good growth. All this shows that the global automotive industry is going to keep on growing and could come close to producing 100 million new vehicles a year by the end of this decade.
VW WORKERS FILE COMPLAINT
The UAW is receiving more pushback in its attempt to organize Volkswagen’s plant in Tennessee. The union claims that over 50% of workers signed cards in support of representation. But that prompted a group of workers to circulate a petition saying that they were misled into signing them and that they don’t want the union. Now, the Detroit News reports that four employees have filed a federal complaint against VW, accusing the automaker of forcing workers to join a union, in order for the plant to build future models. Who knows what will happen but we’ll have more info about the battle in a future Autoline This Week.
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SUPERCARS TOO COMPLICATED
If you’re one of the people that think today’s supercars have too much technology stuffed into them, you may start to like Aston Martin’s CEO, Dr. Ulrich Bez just a little bit more. When he was asked his thoughts about hybrid powertrains, like the ones used in the Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari LaFerrari or the McLaren P1, he says “I am a purist and I think a sports car should have as low weight as possible. It should be as minimalistic as it can be and this does not work with hybridisation.” Dr. Bez goes on to say that these powertrains are also very complex and that electrical issues are the most common source of failures these days. Which is why the company will not be using a hybrid powertrain anytime soon and will be sticking with the likes of its gasoline powered V12 engines.
AUTONOMOUS GAS PUMP
I’m sure we’ve all pulled up to the gas pump, at some point in time, while it was either raining or snowing outside and just wished that you didn’t have to get out of the car. Well that may be a reality soon. The folks over at the Husky Corporation have created this system that will automatically open the gas door then fill the tank. There are a few drawbacks though, it only works with a cap-less fueling system, we’re not sure if the driver can select the fuel grade from inside the vehicle or what happens if your vehicle has a fuel door that only opens from the inside. But, either way, I for one would welcome this system during one of our cold winter mornings here in Michigan.
Coming up next, a look at Ram’s newest gasoline engine.
NEW 6.4L HEMI
The Ram Brand has only seen about 15% of its heavy duty truck customers opt for a gasoline engine, where the market average is about 30%. So the company decided it needed to add something a little beefier under the hood.
You may be thinking, what’s the big deal? Ram just shoved the same 6.4 liter HEMI in its HD trucks that SRT already had in its lineup. But that’s not the case.
The new 6.4 liter HEMI is built in Mexico on the same assembly line as the 5.7 liter HEMI.
(Our overview of the 6.4L HEMI is only available in the video version of today’s show.)
And that’s it for today’s show. I’m Sean McElroy, thanks for watching and please join us again here tomorrow.